Modelling life satisfaction and adjustment to trauma in children exposed to ongoing military violence: An exploratory study in Palestine

Author(s): Guido VERONESE ; Alessandro PEPE ; Alaa JARADAH ; Feda AL MURANAK ; Husam HAMDOUNA


Exposure to war and ongoing political violence increases mental health risks among children, especially in terms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depressive or somatic symptoms. However, an exclusive focus on negative functioning can lead to underestimating the coping abilities and natural potential for adjusting to trauma of war-affected children at different developmental phases. Using structural equation modelling, we tested the extent to which data gathered in a predominantly nonclinical sample of Palestinian children (N = 1276) living in refugee camps supported a conceptual model in which the relationship between subjective wellbeing and the effects of trauma is mainly top-down in direction. The cross-sectional design adopted showed that feelings of life satisfaction contributed to better affect balance in children (aged 6–11 years), which in turn, mitigated the impact of traumatic events. These findings point up the importance of dimensions of subjective well-being in children involved in traumatic events and may inspire intervention and treatment focused on the ability to activate positive emotions as a crucial resource for dealing with traumatic reactions.


Keywords: Life satisfaction, Positive and negative affect, Trauma-protective factors, War-like conditions

Tags: PTSD, Depression, Somatisation, War trauma, Political violence, Conflict, Resilience, Well-being, Children, Palestine

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